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Apple iPod problems solved

By Tom Morgan

Is your iPod broken, or do you need help using it? Here are answers to some common problems with Apple's iPod Touch, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle.

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Although it has been a number of years since Apple updated its iPod line-up, you may still be using yours on a daily basis to listen to music and browse online. Naturally, over time, the user experience may change as your device gets older or develops a fault.

Below, we've covered a range of frequently asked questions about the iPod Touch, iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle to help you get more from your device. Keep reading to find out more on speeding up your iPod, fixing a broken screen and troubleshooting iTunes.

Store your favourite albums on a feature-packed MP3 player. Our Best Buy MP3 players page reveals the top-scoring models.

How do I speed up my iPod?

It's inevitable that as your iPod ages it becomes a little slower to respond. The device may be running low on storage space, for example, or it may need to be updated to Apple's latest firmware to ensure the software runs smoothly.

There are two ways to check which firmware your iPod is running. If you're using an iPod Touch, head to Settings and then tap on Software Update. Your device will tell you when the last time you updated was, and if a newer software patch has since been released. Software updates generally improve performance and can also be used to improve security.

If you're using an iPod Nano or iPod Shuffle, plug the device into your PC. Once iTunes loads up and your iPod is recognised, click on the Summary tab. This will show you how much space is on your device, so if you're running low consider having a clean up. Click on Check for update to ensure your iPod is running on Apple's latest software.

To see which devices are a breeze to navigate through, see our MP3 player reviews.

How do I transfer music to my iPod?

If you want to transfer music from your PC to your iPod, you won't be able to do it without first installing iTunes. The iTunes software itself is free to download, but you'll have to pay for new digital albums you grab through Apple's online store. Some content is free, however, such as select podcasts.

To add a song to iTunes, you can either buy it off the store itself or access it from a physical CD you already own. Insert the CD into your PC or laptop's CD drive, and iTunes will begin importing the tracks to your library. A sound will play when the process is complete.

Once your PC music collection is ready to be transferred to your iPod, plug in the iPod. Usually iTunes will take a couple of seconds to acknowledge the fact you've hooked up the device. Once recognised, iTunes should automatically begin syncing the music to your iPod. If not, you can manually click on Sync to get the process started.

If you're encountering an error message when you try and sync your iPod, make sure the device is plugged in correctly. Also, ensure you have enough space on your iPod to fit all the songs on. The error message generated by iTunes will usually give you a clue as to what the issue is. If all else fails, try Apple's live chat service and speak to a representative.

How can I improve battery life on my iPod Touch?

Assuming your iPod is running the latest firmware (see above), adjusting your device settings can also have an impact on battery life. For example, lowering the display brightness on your iPod can help you squeeze some more listening time out of it. Head to Settings, then either dim your screen manually or turn on Auto-brightness.

Apple's Low Power Mode can also come in handy. It's easy to switch on whenever you fancy, and it's designed to disable certain power-hungry features so the device stays charged for longer. Turning Low Power Mode on disables apps including Mail, and it will turn off iCloud, too.

If you like the idea of moving your library to a longer-lasting smartphone, see our advice guide to the best smartphones of 2017.

My iPod has a smashed screen. Can Apple fix it for free?

If you end up dropping and smashing the display of your iPod Touch or iPod Nano, don't fret. It's likely Apple will be able to fix the damage for you, although you'll have to pay a fee if it's out of warranty. If you're dealing with a device that's a couple of years old, have your wallet at the ready.

The cheapest repair service Apple offers is just under £50 for the iPod Shuffle. Meanwhile, a damaged iPod Touch screen will set you back by around £130. The older iPod Classic will cost around £300 to fix if it's out of warranty. For that price, you're better off treating yourself to a brand new iPod.

You may decide to enlist the help of a third-party repair service. If you find a local specialist, you could potentially save some money. If you’re looking for reliable local traders to fix your broken tech, visit the Which? Trusted Traders website. There, you’ll be able to search for companies endorsed by our Trusted Traders assessors.

Model Out-of-warranty fee Battery service
iPod Shuffle (all models) £46.44 £46.44
iPod Nano (all models) £106.44 £66.44
iPod Classic (160GB, late 2009) £302.44 £66.44
iPod Touch (all models) £136.44 £86.44
Prices correct at April 2017.

Why won't iTunes recognise my iPod?

If your iPod isn’t booting up after you plug it into your PC or Mac, make sure it’s switched on and that you’re using the latest version of iTunes. It’s also worth double-checking the charging port just to make sure there’s nothing wedged inside. You might spot some fluff from your trouser pocket, or a bent piece of metal, inside the device itself.

When you plug an iPod into a computer for the first time, a window will appear asking if you ‘trust’ the computer. Selecting ‘Don’t Trust’ can cause syncing issues. If you accidentally select this option, unplug the device and then try again, this time picking 'Trust'. Another potential syncing fix suggested by Apple involves using a different USB port on your computer.

In some cases, a faulty charging cable can be the problem rather than the iOS gadget itself. Try swapping your cables around to test things out. If you're still having difficulties, you might want to try uninstalling and reinstalling iTunes.

Visit our Apple iPod reviews to see how the iPod Shuffle, iPod Nano and iPod Touch performed in our test lab.

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